Process of Public Tenders
By a show of hands, how many of us have, at one point or another, attempted to submit a proposal for a public tender. While I cannot see the outcome of my question, I know that majority of you have your hands up.
And we all know that the worst part of this process is when we receive that dreaded communication to say that we were not successful and after submission of tons of documents, we sit and wonder how it is possible that we were not successful. So, after spending many years in the public procurement sector, we thought it best that we provide you with a summary insight into how the public tender process works. This process is summarised into several steps below
Searching for tenders that match our requirements
The South African Government has several manners which tenders are advertised, such as:
National Treasury Website
Advertisements in newspapers (seldom)
In some cases, a Joint venture can be created to meet the requirements of the tender.
Obtaining bid documents
In some cases, the bid document is a free download or minimal cases, we would have to pay to obtain the bid documents.
This is a very simple exercise.
Check bid requirements
Compulsory Briefing session
Closing date and time
Number of bid documents required to submit and media required
Check required compulsory documentation to submit
Read the scope of work in detail
Check the scoring/evaluation criteria and what is required from us
Compulsory briefing session
It is in your best interest to attend the sessions, whether it is compulsory or not.
Check the date and time of the briefing session and make sure that when you are attending, you sign the briefing session register.
Make sure that if are unclear on any items, that you prepare questions for the team at the briefing sessions. Don’t feel shy to ask questions as there are many people attending that will have the same thoughts or questions.
Normally the tender administrator may not answer your questions, but will take down your questions and will also ask for set of questions to be sent to the administrator via email by a specific date. They will supply answers by a set date as well – normally displayed on the government website. These questions and answers will be key in you providing a comprehensive proposal.
Closing date and work backwards
Number of bid documents and media
Check the number of proposal documents required and media required for such proposal. In our experience, you can complete one original document and copy the balance, for the other copies required.
Also note that in some instances, you may require to copy the documents into a form of media i.e. a memory stick or flash disk.
It is important to note that you must complete and sign all SBD documents in conjunction with the proposal information.
It is important to check what compulsory documentation and pre-qualification criteria is required. These can be as follows, as a minimum:
Your business is registered on CSD
CSD pin is active
Valid TCC pin and tax affairs are up to date
Resolution of all directors to allow one director to sign bid documents
Any documentation for evaluation i.e. CV’s, letter of reference, any regulatory body documentation
Read the scope of work in detail and ensure that all aspects of scope of work and evaluation criteria are detailed in proposal. Make sure that proposal covers all aspects of criteria.
Understand scoring and evaluation criteria and make sure that all submissions equal or mirror the scoring/evaluation criteria. Ensure that you meet ALL requirements for the scoring/evaluation criteria when putting together the final submission pack and proposal. This is very important – remember they will not know you and can only evaluate you on your tender submission. Therefore be very explicit in your submission as much as possible.
Understand in detail the pricing requirement and show your pricing exactly as the government department wishes to see it. Make sure that you use their template for pricing.
Understanding the Evaluation process
The weighting of pricing/BBBEE process is normally as follows:
80% for price and 20% for BBBEE on tenders not exceeding R50million, or
90% for price and 10% for BBBEE on tenders in excess of R50million
Create project plan
Double and Triple check documents
Sign Final documents
Make sure that you sign all final documents for submission. This is important and you could be excluded from further consideration if all pages are not signed.
Pack and Submit
Finally consolidate all information/documents. Create a table of contents and compile the proposal according to this table. Make sure all items are easily referenced and is filed according to the requirements of the tender. Always file the SBD/Admin documents first and then compile the proposal information thereafter and consolidate.
Hopefully the content of this article at least gives you an idea of the process of public tenders and what is required from us as entrepreneurs/business owners/business captains etc. Often, we found that we take too much for granted in the submission of our tender documents and end up being unsuccessful in tender.
As an organisation, we often run half day or full day online courses on public procurement processes and during such courses we provide more detail, guidance and assistance on the public procurement process. If you are interested in such courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.